Millennials are leading a shift in health care from a transactional model to a digital, connected experience. In the past, nostalgic views of a general practitioner who knows you and your whole family from cradle to grave was the definition of patient-centric care that other generations valued.

Today, 45% of millennials don’t even have a primary care provider, let alone one who they rely on exclusively for medical advice. Instead, millennials make up an outsized percentage of patients at retail and urgent care clinics, and half research symptoms online before contacting a doctor, leading to a further 27% self-treating.

At the root of this shift is the premium millennials place on technology, convenience and control. It is easier and quicker for them to look up clinic hours on a smartphone and walk-in on their own schedule than it is to find a doctor, call for an appointment, fill out paperwork, then see a general practitioner.

The emphasis on digital connectivity, convenience and control is creating some of the most important opportunities for health care marketers. These opportunities can pay off the promise of driving digital engagement and provide value to all consumers in general, not just millennials.

So, Millennials Are Leading the Way. How Should You Follow?

Technology demands you take a deeper look at your target audiences. Today, we can personalize advertising and digital outreach to the needs of individual health care consumers. Delivering highly relevant content and messaging goes far beyond traditional demographic targeting and demands equally well-developed strategies. Industry leaders are using data and insights to segment and develop hyper-targeted audience profiles that reflect the most important nuances of their targeted health care consumers.

From a good understanding of each audience, you can start to map individual consumer health care journeys. JPL does this by looking at what patients are thinking, feeling and doing throughout their journey to utilize specific health care services. From research, to consideration, to selection, journey mapping allows us to identify the consumer’s needs, mindset and the opportunities for our clients to become a trusted partner throughout the consumer’s health care journey.

Use Your Digital Strategy to Unlock Value for Your Patients and Your Brand

Striking the right chord at the right time begins with a clear understanding of who your patients are; what they are thinking, doing and feeling; and how and when they are looking for information.

But a highly-personalized digital marketing campaign is not enough. There must also be a cohesive path to convert interest into loyal patients. Insightful marketing campaigns need to drive to equally well-thought-out digital experiences. Even reminders, billing and follow-up emails should be crafted strategically to build loyalty.

In the ever-crowded health care services market, differentiating your brand means providing relevant, meaningful value that is unique, creates trust and aligns with your purpose. And millennials are savvy brand consumers. They expect a great brand experience that is digitally connected and delivers convenience and control. Delivering that experience to them lays the foundation for loyalty that health care providers need to gain.